DHARAMSALA, October 9 - A 73 year old Tibetan Buddhist Lama who founded the first Buddhist centre in the west and two others have been reportedly stabbed to death in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province.
Choje Akong Rinpoche, who lived in Britain since 1963, founded the Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Scotland in 1967.
It was the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the West, and is home to a community of around 60 monks and lay-people.
Police in Chengdu said Choje Akong Rinpoche, his nephew Logah and his driver Jigme Wangyal were killed in a residential area. It said three suspects - all Tibetans - had stabbed the men to death in a dispute about money, according to The telegraph
. Police have arrested the three suspects, a Tibetan man from Derge and two others from Chamdo Joda region.
Akong Tulku's brother Lama Yeshe Rinpoche said in a statement posted on the Samye Ling website yesterday, “To all dear friends of Samye Ling and Choje Akong Rinpoche, I am very, very sorry to inform you all that tragically, my brother Choje Akong Rinpoche, my nephew and one monk who was travelling with them, were all assassinated in Chengdu today."
“Rinpoche’s body has been taken to hospital where a post mortem will be carried out. That is all the news I have so far. ”
Akong Rinpoche had led the search party that brought a seven-year-old boy Apo Gaga from nomad’s tent in Eastern Tibet to Tsurphu Ladrang, the seat of Karmapas, where he was enthroned as the 17th Karmapa in 1992.
“Akong Tulku has been my friend from the time I was seven. A social activist, he showed great kindness to Tibet by founding schools and hospitals, printing old texts, and helping many people. Thus I am shocked to hear that he along with two others has been taken from us so suddenly,” Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje said in a statement on his official website.
"I would like to offer my condolences to his family members, everyone at Samye Ling Monastery, the Rokpa Foundation, and all the persons involved in his projects in Tibet as well as to all of the students whose lives he touched. I hope that all of his visions and aspirations may continue to be fulfilled."
Akong Tulku Rinpoche fled Tibet into India in 1959 after the Chinese invasion of Tibet. He ran a charity called ROKPA which requires him to travel around Tibet supervising schools and medical programmes that had been established by his charity. He was on a visit to one of his charity's projects when he was killed. His charity runs 61 schools, 19 hospitals, 3 old people's homes, 19 learning centres for Buddhist studies, 5 orphanages, 3 relic preservation centres, 2 herb plantation centres.